Zionsville Times Sentinel


April 2, 2014

Indianapolis Nora R. McDonnell

Nora Rita Betchley McDonnell, aged 90, of Indianapolis, formerly of Alpharetta and Woodstock, Ga., passed away peacefully March 30, 2014.

Rita was born Nov. 1, 1923, in Flushing, N,Y., to the now late Denis and Mary (Moriarity) Hannifin. After graduating from Flushing High School and attending business school, she began her career with Iron Age magazine and New York Bell Telephone. She eventually retired from their customer service department.

Rita married Edward Betchley in 1947. He died in 1972. Rita married Patrick McDonnell in 1976. He preceded her in death in 1998.

While living in Georgia, Rita attended St. Brigid Catholic Church, and she attended Christ Lutheran Church in Zionsville with her daughter and son-in-law.

Rita was an avid reader, a traveler, and enjoyed playing bridge, but her work as a literacy volunteer brought her great satisfaction, too. In New York, Rita taught illiterate and semi-literate adults to read. There she had the joy of working for two years with a man who read at a third-grade level when they met; he eventually received his GED. After retiring to Myrtle Beach, S.C., Rita was “the grandma who comes to read” at a community-run daycare. She also volunteered at an elementary school in her neighborhood, working individually and in small groups with students who were falling behind in school. She also began taking college courses in literature, history and mathematics at Carolina Coastal University in Conway, S.C., “to keep her mind sharp”. In Alpharetta, she joined other seniors in the area knitting infant layettes that were presented to disadvantaged parents of newborns.

Rita's energy, spirit, enthusiasm, and appearance belied her years. Upon moving to Hoosier Village in Indianapolis, Rita began attending exercise class and making new friends. Her family would like to thank everyone at Hoosier Village, including Dr. Diane Healey and the staff of Hawthorn Hall and the Healthcare Center, for the excellent care she received and the friendship she was shown.

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